I'm not sure if this one is Bilston or perhaps a French Enamel, but perhaps someone of you who recognizes that signature mark can let us know via email and we'll then annotate our listing. What I can tell you is it's definitely 1800s or earlier, and is a real work of art. The ships and seafaring genre scenes that encase the entire casket and lid are fabulous. The tall ships and sails, the costumes and scenes of 1700s life surround it. My guestimate would be that it's Bilston, English, and is earliest 1800s, and that it's had a push-button latch at some point, but has been remounted backwards into the brass frame, as that hole for a push-button is in the backside of the box at present. Do you see what I mean? In any case, our photographer has done a fine job of capturing its beauty and charm, AND any very minor tiny hairline in the kiln-fired enamel work, which is magnificent on this little trunk-shaped casket. Look it over. Measurements are noted on our photos.
NOTE about KILN-FIRED ENAMALS: This process, which I've written about many times, is one only accomplished with the skill of years and years of practice. The enamel powders are various shades of muddy mauve, taupe, blues, not the least resembling the color they will become once the kiln melts them into the glassine or porcelain like finished product you see here. So an artist is layering on stroke after stroke, working quite literally blind as far as the colors and spacing of the finished outcome he/she hopes to achieve. It is the memory that guides the hand in this art. And subject to such whims of nature and memory, it's always amazing to me that they come out with anything but a glob. I've tried this art, myself, and believe me, it's very difficult. I mostly get globs. The nature of the process is part of the reason why these old kiln-fired objects have such a following and bring the prices they continue to bring.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. We have no chips or losses and the very slightest of faint hairlines you're able to view in our enlarged photos, but which you'd miss entirely if you found this in a store and used just your eyes. The flaws are very minor and the box presents and displays beautifully. As noted above, I think there was once a push-button latch closure mechanism and that the bottom half has been remounted backwards in the framework to reposition the hole that would have accommodated such a latch so it now is at the back of the casket, below the hinges. Look at our photos to see what I mean. The casket does not have a latch closure now. It displays beautifully and has no chips or cracks of note. Fabulous color, magnificent kiln-fired enamel artistry. I love the ships on top!
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